Reject Carroll out to jolt Liverpool's title hopes

Wed Apr 2, 2014 10:30pm EDT
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By Mike Collett

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll can dent his former club's Premier League title chances and virtually seal West Ham United's top-flight status for next season when the teams meet at Upton Park on Sunday.

Carroll did not fit into manager Brendan Rodgers's plans when the Irishman took over at Anfield and 18 months after becoming the most expensive English player ever following his 35 million-pound ($58.2 million) move from Newcastle United he joined West Ham on loan before signing permanently last year.

Carroll, 25, faces Liverpool for the first time since leaving for 15 million pounds and if he turns in the type of scoring performance he produced in a 2-1 win at Sunderland on Monday, his old club's title hopes could be jolted.

A win would also leave West Ham in a secure position, with the Hammers currently 11th on 37 points, 11 above the drop zone.

With the end of the league campaign fast approaching and most sides having only six games to play, the outcome will have a crucial bearing on the title race along with Chelsea's game at home to Stoke City and Southampton's visit to Manchester City.

Everton face Arsenal at Goodison Park in a game that could determine which one of those two finish fourth and grab a place in next season's Champions League qualifiers.

Liverpool thrashed hapless visitors Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 on Sunday for their eighth successive league win to reclaim top spot for the first time since Christmas. They have 71 points from 32 games, two more than Chelsea.

Manchester City, who have two games in hand, are third on 67 points, followed by Arsenal who have 64 from 32 games.   Continued...

West Ham United's Andy Carroll reacts after dislocating a finger during their English Premier League soccer match against Everton at Goodison Park in Liverpool March 1, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble